Responding to news reports that he would fire his police commissioner in order to maintain relations with controversial civil rights activist and MSNBC host Al Sharpton, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the idea was "ludicrous" and "idiotic."
"I have a high-pain threshold when it comes untruths being told in print, but this is ludicrous. It’s inappropriate. It’s idiotic," de Blasio said during a press conference
announcing the expansion of a citywide initiative to reduce gun violence.
"I don’t know how many times I’ve said we have the finest police leader in the United States – and I believe that in my heart," he added. "I think Bill Bratton is doing an extraordinary job. So, I’m kind of sick of this notion of let’s make everything about personalities and conflict.
"We are blessed to have Bill Bratton as our commissioner and he’s doing a great job. And he and I are absolutely united in our approach to fighting crime and bringing police and community together," said de Blasio.
The question was prompted by a story in DNAinfo claiming the mayor has a rocky relationship with New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and that he would let him go if necessary to ensure good relations with Sharpton.
According to the report, sources said there would be "no question that de Blasio would opt to stick with Sharpton rather than Bratton" and that he would "throw Bratton under the bus.”
Bratton's leadership of the NYPD, as well as police policies concerning the use of chokeholds, has come under increased scrutiny in the weeks since July 17 when a chokehold was used by police who were attempting to arrest Eric Garner on charges of illegally selling loose cigarettes. The medical examiner later determined the chokehold contributed to Garner's death.
Shortly thereafter, all three attended a press conference addressing the controversial arrest and the MSNBC host chastised de Blasio, Bratton and the police department.
“I also think, commissioner, that the best way to make police stop using the illegal choke hold is to perp walk one who did,” Sharpton said.
In the wake of Sharpton's appearance at the forum, de Blasio's decision to allow the controversial activist to attend the event was called into question, reports CBS2 News.
Asked about his decision, the mayor came to Sharpton's defense, saying that he "had been active and productive" on police policies for decades.
"If we're going to play spin games, I'll be your worst enemy," Sharpton warned while seated on a dais with de Blasio and Bratton.
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